Like many of you, I grew up around guns and was taught to respect them and always treat them safely. I believe I got my first gun when I was 8, and I’ve been a collector ever since.
As a young boy and later as a teenager, I spent much of my time after school or work in the woods hunting, fishing, learning about nature and learning how to safely handle a firearm. Many folks today might think it’s crazy for a boy to own a gun at that age, but I was taught to respect the gun and respect life. I did not have an easy childhood, and the older I get, the more I realize that gun and those woods were what kept me sane and out of trouble.
Unfortunately, times have changed since I was a boy growing up in the Alabama woods. Many of our young men grow up in homes where they are not taught that life has value, and this breeds a lack of discipline and respect for the people around us. Everywhere in our society we can see this change – whether it’s the violence coming out of Hollywood, and movies, too much social media, absent parents or the left’s push for abortion on demand – we are seeing an overall breakdown of society and no longer have a culture that values human life.
So many kids today are not taught to value life, and instead of socializing and playing outdoors, they sit inside scrolling through social media while watching violent movies and playing violent video games for hours on end. All of us who have kids understand how impressionable kids are at a young age, and we’ve got to do better about monitoring what our kids are watching and playing. When young kids see violence on their screens over and over, they can very easily become desensitized to killing. This is why it’s so important for parents to be present in the lives of their kids and instill good values in them.
Every time a mass shooting happens in the United States, the left immediately calls for gun control while ignoring the real underlying issue. Guns are not the problem. The people pulling the trigger are the problem, and infringing on the rights of law-abiding Americans does absolutely nothing to keep bad people from doing bad things. We will continue to see violence and crime rise until we get serious about addressing mental health issues in this country and push back on movies and video games that are poisoning the minds of our kids.
We have a real problem in his country, but gun control is not the answer and will not fix our real problems. The Constitution is clear that the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, and I will never back down from defending our constitutional right to protect ourselves and our families from harm.
Jerry Carl represents Alabama’s First Congressional District. He lives in Mobile with his wife Tina.